Spiritual Animation Process in Dialogue in Hyderabad

By Sch. Lloyd SJ, WordForPeace.com

As companions of Jesus sent into todays world, a world characterized
by religious pluralism, we have a special responsibility to promote
interreligious dialogue. Thus keeping in mind the richness of the
other faith traditions and in order to make it more practical for the
young scholastics in the formation, a four day interfaith seminar was
organized by Islamic Studies Association. It was held at Hyderabad in
coordination with the Henry Martin Institute, International Center for
Research, interfaith Relations and Reconciliation. Beside our daily
Eucharist, every day the program began with interfaith prayer service
conducted by our brothers and sisters of other faith. It was indeed an
enriching experience to come together and pray to one God in Vedic,
Islamic and Sikh faith traditions. Our spirits elevated and hearts
were raised to praise God as we sat together under one roof.

The workshop basically included a Spiritual animation process in
dialogue through various inputs given by Tom SJ on GC decrees and
Victor Edwin SJ on the church documents like Nostra Aeatate,
Redemptoris Missio etc. We reflected on a number of key sentences from
the aforementioned documents in order to realize and experience the
spirit of the documents. We recognized the challenge to mould our
lives for mission in the milieu of diverse faiths. Focused discussion
and sharing helped us to appropriate the key learning from the
process. The focus on the process helped us to personalize what we
learnt during the workshop.

Fr. Joe Kalathil talked to us about the Children for Peace an
initiative that he has taken for peace between Pakistan and India.
Deep conviction that peace is possible and an equally deep
confidence that God will provide for sustains him in this ministry, he
told us. We were deeply inspired and touched by his personal sharing
and experiences.

We went to participate in an evening Qawwali in a sufi dargah.
Qawwali is performed mainly at Sufi shrines throughout South Asia. We
also participated in a sufi meditation called dhikar. Dhikar is
one of the sufi practices of devotion where Muslims repeat short
prayers in a rhythmically often aloud. For Sufis, it is a way to
attain enlightenment and union with God. A Sufi and his son came and
conducted this meditation for us. It was a spiritual experience for
us.

We also had an opportunity to interact with the faculty of Islamic
Studies at Maulana Azad National Urdu University and a visit to Buddha
vihar. We had good conversation in both places. Though we were very
few in numbers but we could enjoy the companionship of one another and
also made some new friends belonging to other Churches and other
faiths.

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